Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ringing Out the Old

My last post related my outbreak of hives.  Unfortunately, that episode lasted much longer than any human should have to put up with.  As previously written, my first hives began during the Hobbit, and they continued to appear over the 24 hours, to the point where I had 5 - 6 inch diameter red, burning welts over my entire body.  We tried lots of Benedryl and various other anti-histimines and steroids both at home and in the clinic (including an epi-pin), but when my wrists and feet were red and swollen, and my throat started to swell closed Monday morning, I went to the hospital and was admitted.  Two days and many, many steroids and anti-histimines later, I came back home again, still itchy and with hives to a lesser degree, and completely wiped out. The verdict was severe allergic reaction to an unknown substance.

Our Christmas present to each other and the family was a ski trip to introduce the kids to the sport, have some family time and be in Michigan together.  Instead, my hubby took the hyper, disease-laden rug rats to the slopes, and I spent lots of alone time in the house, recuperating and resting.  There are lots of nasty viruses in our community, and with all the meds I was on, my immunity has been lowered.  Considering the time of year, this could have been a sad and stressful time for me, but I can honestly say with Joseph in the Old Testament, "What [you] meant for evil, God has meant for good."

I had a very centered time of quiet and thanksgiving, and God brought the right people to me in the right time.  It was a joy to see His provision for me, including an invitation by a friend for people with no family in the area for her first holiday open house. Another friend had me over to her house (with no diseased people in it) for a quiet evening and a Chinese dinner.  She didn't know how long eating Chinese at Christmas has been a part of our family traditions! My in-laws brought me two lunches, and a friend contacted me on Christmas Eve day and arranged for another friend to bring me a meal that night, as I was all alone.

Not for long, though.  The kids and my husband cut their vacation short, drove all day and surprised me at the quietest Christmas Eve service I could find!  The kids had fallen asleep two hours previous, and the boys were completely zonked in the pew, going between shoving each other and trying to use each other for pillows. It was cute.  My daughter was more awake and involved, even helping my husband unpack the truck after we all arrived home.

Christmas was wonderful.  Despite the swollen, stiff joints, I managed to finish my husband's vest, The British School Slipover in the Folk Vests book. I thought the Rowan wool cotton was perfect for him:  soft, and not too warm.

I also finished the first pair of my filet crocheted breakfast nook curtains.  They disgustingly took about a month, MUCH LONGER than I had anticipated.  That, and my illness, took a huge chunk out of any other knitted gifts.  Seriously -- I didn't knit for almost a week with my hives and recovery.  After Christmas, though, I got the mittens knitted for my friend Molly in Ireland and another for my cousin in Annapolis.  I got those mailed the last few days.

So, in conclusion, I am overjoyed to be home, in much better shape and have the family home as well.  A belated holiday wish to all you, my friends!  May God bless you in the coming year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Hobbit and Hives

We went as a family to see the Hobbit yesterday. My husband bought the tickets on-line and read there that it was sold out. We accordingly got there early.

The theater was completely empty. We really had our choice of seats! Halfway through the show, I started to itch. Halfway home I was covered with red welts. I had hives! All I had to eat was popcorn. All I had to drink was bottled water. Perhaps I am allergic to some popcorn additive? Or, perhaps I'm allergic to orcs.

The movie was pretty awful. Chris had read me a review about the IMAX/3D version looking "plasticky," but the CGI looked kind of plasticky to me as well on the regular version. Three hours. Three hours of a third of a three hundred page book. The Onion had a really funny review stating that for 53 minutes Bilbo packing for the trip. Yeah. Peter Jackson added tons of orcs and evil plotting and scheming against the group of 14 adventurers. I can't recall a single orc in the book. I remember the trolls and the town if men, but the rest is bunk.

Here is a picture of my own little Hobbits and one troll. Wouldn't you know, he had the choice of every seat in the house, and he had to go steal mine!

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14

Today was the day the lone gunman killed the elementary kids in Connecticut. Information is still coming out about what happened, but it has left everyone's heart cold and stuttering.

At the time he entered the Newtown school where his mom worked, I was in my daughter's lunchroom watching her and her good friend make a school of their own. What a contrast -- we had fun and sugar and smiles and creativity. The two girls had initially planned an old, ramshackle school with a crooked sign, but they decided to make it old style, but functional. They had a belfry, sign and road to the front door.

The base is old milk cartons. They are covered first in graham crackers with frosting.  LOTS of frosting.

The architects' plans converge.

And... the finished product:

I realize I haven't posted in over a month... Last month I headed down to Pendleton Indiana's The Trading Post owned and operated by Susan Markle.  It was on a cold morning.

 my greeter

Susan put on a great workshop by John Mularky of Malarky Crafts on tablet or card weaving. What a lark! John demonstrated how to warp the small loom threading the cards one on each round. Then, how to weft.

This was my partner in warping.  John set us down in pairs and we spotted for each other.  It took less than 10 minutes for each of us to warp the loom.  Very fun!

These looms are for tablet weaving.  One can also use an inkle loom with a long depth to that top part.  I'm sure there is real vocabulary I should be using here, but, hey!  I did the class, and that has to count for something!

Here is my loom all warped and ready for action:

I made a sample strap during class that day, then, the day after that when I came home, I went to an all day quilt with some friends.  There, I weft the loom and made a belt in a very simple pattern.  Several days later, I ordered a D-ring clasp to sew on it and make it a working belt.

I guess I'll have to do that soon and post it!